THE PLAYERS

 

Players to wear the green and white of the Hibees.

Here is a growing collection of players and internationalists to feature for Hibernian throughout the years.

Position Winger

After a couple of years with Portobello Thistle, Michael was asked by Pat Stanton to sign for the Hibs on a two year contract when he was 16.

 

Mickey Weir Profile

 

Brought up in the Pilton area of Edinburgh, Michael's football skills were apparent to everyone, although some questioned his chances of making a name for himself in the professional game because of his diminutive stature, which, considering Scotland's reputation for producing 'tanner ba' players such as Jimmy 'Jinky' Johnstone, Willie Henderson and of course Alex 'Mickey' Edwards, seems incredible now.

Michael used these doubts as an inspiration, and his determination to prove a point was only matched by his enthusiasm for Hibs, being part of a large Hibs daft extended family, including his father, uncles and grandfather, and it remains a great source of pride that he wore the famous green and white jersey with such distinction.

As a young supporter, Michael never missed a home game and recalls the many European nights with affection, although one of his early memories was the infamous 1-0 win over East Fife when John Brownlie broke his leg, and the Turnbull's Tornadoes era ended.

As he used to play for St Augustine's School on a Saturday morning and Pilton Sporting Club on a Sunday, Michael was able to travel to most away games on the Doocot Hibs Bus.

After a couple of years with Portobello Thistle, Michael was asked by Pat Stanton to sign for the Hibs on a two year contract when he was 16.

At the time, Mickey was in good company, with Paul Kane, Gordon Hunter and Kevin McGhee the only other members of the ground staff although John Collins would arrive a few months later, and the youngsters were guided by Jimmy O'Rourke and George Stewart.

O'Rourke in particular was an inspiration for the teenager, explaining how much of an honour it was to play for the Hibs, and building up his confidence by telling him that he was a better player than some in the first team.

As there was no third team, the youngsters were thrown in at the deep end, and Mickey's first appearance in a Hibs strip came in a 7-0 defeat in a reserve game against Alex Ferguson's Aberdeen which contained first team regulars including Neil Simpson, Neil Cooper, John Hewitt, Eric Black and Andy Watson.

Michael's debut came in a 3-1 League Cup victory over Airdrie on 30th November 1983 at Broomfield in front of 738 supporters, at the tender age of 17 years and 318 days. His first home appearance however was Pat Stanton's final game as manager, which ended in a 3-2 defeat to Dumbarton.

Mickey was the one bright spark of a dismal afternoon, and his performance won plaudits from TV commentator Archie McPherson who suggested that when he ran onto the field that he looked as if he should be up in Princes Street shopping with his mother.

John Blackley took over from Pat, and Mickey was in and out of the team, playing twelve times before the end of the season, then eleven times in his first full season, including four games in the League Cup which saw a famous penalties win over Celtic after a 4-4 draw at Easter Road and the 2-0 home win against Rangers in the first leg of the semi-final. Unfortunately, he had to watch the final, which Hibs lost 3-0 to Aberdeen on TV after developing glandular fever.

Mickey recovered to play a couple of games before the end of the campaign and was fully fit for the new season, which stared in spectacular style, beating Graham Souness's new look Rangers 2-1 at Easter Road, in a game which saw 21 players booked after a large scale brawl in the middle of the field. Mickey was one of those given a yellow card although he has no idea why as his sole involvement was getting knocked down by a passing Rangers player.

Unfortunately, Hibs were unable maintain the form against the lesser teams and after a poor run, John Blackley was sacked and replaced initially by Tommy Craig, then by Alex Miller. Whilst Mickey didn't always see eye to eye with the new manager, he accepts that Miller was a big influence in his career and that his knowledge of the game was first class.

Mickey opened his goal scoring account in Miller's first derby, a 2-2 draw at Easter Road on 6 January 1987, in a game Hibs dominated from start to finish, and scored a further four before the end of the season.

Mickey's performances didn't go unnoticed, and it wasn't long before he was lured away to Luton Town who were in the top division in England, for a reported fee of £200,000, much to the disappointment of the fans, however three months later he was back home, giving the Easter Road faithful a much needed boost.

Hibs by now were in the hands of David Duff and Jim Gray who funded a number of improvements to the squad, including a certain Steve Archibald who made a lasting impression on Mickey and the supporters as the team qualified for the UEFA Cup, and also reached the semi-final of the Scottish Cup but three early goals from Celtic put paid to any thought of winning the famous trophy.

On a personal note however, injury limited Mickey to nine appearances. He recovered in time for pre-season training and started the following season in top form, scoring against Rangers in a 2-0 win at Easter Road.

In Europe, Mickey played in the first leg win over Videoton but was on the bench for the famous 3-0 away victory in Hungary. He also played in the first leg of the following round against Leige at Easter Road, but again missed the return tie which ended in a narrow defeat.

He also played his part in the Tennent's Sixes win under the stewardship of assistant manager Peter Cormack.

Arguably, Mickey's best form came during the first half of the 1991/1992 season - scoring six by the start of October and inspiring victory over Rangers in a never to be forgotten Skol Cup semi-final at Hampden Park.

Walter Smith had taken over from Souness and won five out of five trophies with a squad full of international players, including a certain Andy Goram whom he had bought from Hibs. Few gave Hibs any chance that night, and when the team bus arrived at Hampden, the bus door wouldn't open, which at the time didn't seem to be a good omen for things to come.

In the tunnel however, Goram's replacement, the eccentric John Burridge wound everyone into a frenzy by loudly explaining what he would do to any forward who dared come near him in the penalty box, whilst insisting that Ally McCoist had been a failure at Sunderland and could only score goals in Scotland.

Budgie's tirade galvanised the players, although he almost gave Rangers an early lead when he fumbled a cross, although to be fair, he made up for it with some excellent saves later in the game.

The only goal came midway through the first half when a long Pat McGinlay pass was chased by Mark McGraw. Andy Goram was first to react however but his punch landed at the feet of Mickey.

Not only did Michael earn the penalty which gave Hibs the lead, his slide-rule pass set up close pal Keith Wright to score the second and decisive goal on that glorious day at Hampden. The pair also combined to score the winner against Walter Smith's Rangers in the semi-final.

Sky TV's commentator Martin Tyler asked the watching nation, "What will Weir do now?" Mickey answered in the best fashion, calmly looking up he floated an inch perfect cross to the head of Keith Wright who nodded the ball between the two Rangers defenders on the line and into the net.

A terrible refereeing decision in the other semi-final at Tynecastle between Airdrie and Dunfermline saw the Pars emerge triumphant, and Hibs fans turned up in numbers confident of a cup win, particularly after Hibs had beaten the Fifers 3-0 in a league match at Easter Road the previous week.

Jocky Scott, who would later become Alex Miller's assistant manager led out a Dunfermline side which included current Everton manager David Moyes, current Nottingham Forest manager Billy Davies and another eccentric goalkeeper Andy Rhodes father of current Scotland striker Jordan.

The game took place on the day that the clocks went back in October 1991, and after a nervy first half ended with neither team having found the net, Hibs started the second period brightly and Gareth Evans went close with an early effort, before Mickey took the game by the scruff of the neck and made sure that the trophy ended up in Leith for only the second time.

After an interchange of passes, Mickey was bundled to the ground by Pars' full back Richard Sharp. The referee had no hesitation in awarding the penalty which was coolly dispatched by Tommy McIntyre despite the antics of Rhodes trying to put him off.

 

Mickey Weir 1

Mickey Weir is brought down by goalkeeper Sharp to win a penalty in the 1991 Skol Cup Final

 

With Hibs' fans looking at their watches, Mickey robbed Dunfermline's Eddie Cunnington in midfield before sending a slide rule pass which split the Pars' defence to put Keith Wright one on one with Rhodes. Hampden held its breath as Keith slotted the ball home to secure the famous victory.

After the lap of honour, Mickey was rightly presented with the sponsors man of the match then selected to provide a urine sample, a virtually impossible act because he was so dehydrated, although after gallons of water, Mickey finally joined his team-mates on the bus which arrived at the Maybury later than expected. The players then swapped the team coach for an open topped bus which drove though the city to a packed Easter Road where the celebrations continued.

Mickey played another five years with Hibs, although he spent a considerable period on the treatment table.

He was fit for the 1994/95 season however, when Alex Miller finally got the better of Hearts, winning three of the four Premier League matches, including the final derby on 6 May 1995 when Mickey scored in a 3-1 victory at Easter Road, although ground renovations meant that there was only 7146 there to witness his contribution.

His last appearance came in a 4-1 defeat to Celtic at Parkhead on 18 January 1997 but he continued to play at the highest level in Scotland with Motherwell for a further two years.

Whilst there, he played against Hibs at Fir Park, and when he left the field after being substituted, the away end erupted with Mickey's anthem 'He's here, he's there, he's every... where Mickey Weir," which was an indication of the high esteem that he was held in by the Hibs faithful.

In all, Mickey played 247 times for Hibs, scoring 35 times.

Mickey has since produced a weekly column for the Edinburgh Evening News, where he gives his views of what's happening at Easter Road, and he occasionally acts as co-commentator for Hibs TV.

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